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West Cook County Housing Collaborative receives $3 million HUD grant

Kudos to IFF and the municipal leaders of Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood and Oak Park for earning a 2011 Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) Challenge Grant from the U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Fresh off the heels of the Federal Reserve Bank's release of a very special edition of ProfitWise, featuring profiles of four municipal housing collaboratives piloting interjurisdictional solutions in metropolitan Chicago — and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s pledge at the Nov. 7 Mayors and Developers forum to support such “intermediary efforts” — HUD announced the 2011 SCI awards, and, drum roll, please ...

The West Cook County Housing Collaborative received a nearly $3 million grant for its transit-oriented development strategy, to update comp plans and to create a sustainable transit-oriented development fund.

A year ago at this time, we were celebrating when the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association received an SCI grant to support its own multi-town collaboration, and when the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning received the SCI Regional Planning Grant, in great part to support multi-town strategies across the region. West Cook also applied in 2010, and was oh-so close, shy only on points in the “leveraging" category. Fortunately the collaborative was able to address this factor in its 2011 application, thanks, in great part to a recent award from the State of Illinois and CMAP’s Homes for a Changing Region commitment.

IFF in particular deserves kudos for securing this grant, for taking a lead role in the West Cook County Housing Collaborative and for supplying phenomenal technical “know-how.” But clearly it takes a bevy of regional stakeholders to bolster this kind of effort. MPC is proud to have worked with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative, Preservation Compact, and other colleagues to support the leadership of Oak Park Village President David Pope, Maywood Mayor Henderson Yarborough, Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone, Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero, and Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale. And The Chicago Community Trust and Grand Victoria Foundation provided critical seed money for IFF’s coordinator role, which has since leveraged more than $10 million in local investment.

Given all the legwork already underway on the SSMMA effort — including that of a group of financial advisors helping structure a sustainable transit-oriented development fund aligned with a land bank and land trust strategy, all intended to support and advance the SSMMA’s Green TIME Zone strategy — the region will quickly be able to extrapolate lessons learned for West Cook as well.

To learn more about the grant, read HUD’s announcement (see page 12).

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